Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Only 12 weeks away

The NHL released the 2006-07 season schedule today. The Ottawa Senators sked can be found here.

This year, the Sens will be matched up against the Central division of the Western Conference for their away games and the Northwest for their homes, which means we'll see recently departed Marty Havlat face his new team as well as getting two more Canadian teams visiting ScotiaBank Place.

Some Ottawa-related highlights of the schedule:
  • As was the case last season, the Battle Of Ontario will kick off the new season, as the Sens travel to the ACC to face the sorta reformed Maple Leafs on October 4th. They'll butt heads 24 hours later here in Bytown. Let's hope no shootouts this time around.
  • The rest of the BOO, if you're wondering: October 24th @ Toronto, October 26th @ Ottawa, December 30th @ Toronto, February 3rd @ Ottawa, March 8th @ Ottawa, and March 10th@ Toronto. No games in the last dozen of the season, which sorta sucks because, hopefully, each team will be playing for something.
  • The Buffalo games, which proved to be among the most entertaining last season: October 7th, 2006 @ Ottawa, November 15th @ Buffalo, November 18th @ Ottawa, December 16th @ Buffalo, January 3rd @ Ottawa, February 7th @ Buffalo, February 22nd @ Buffalo, and February 24th @ Ottawa.
  • Our first look at Zdeno Chara in a Bruins uniform will be when the Sens travel to Boston on October 28th. His first trip back here doesn't occur until December 19th.
  • Marian Hossa and the Thrashers come to town on January 1st and then again February 17th.
  • The Northwest division games are October 12th vs. Calgary, October 19th vs. Colorado, November 20th vs. Minnesota, January 18th vs. Vancouver, and February 20th vs. Edmonton. With the way the Wild have restocked this offseason, all games should be worthwhile.
  • The aforementioned game vs. Havlat in his new digs will be March 4th in the Windy City.
  • Sidney Crosby and the Pens come to town March 5th and April 8th while Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals visit January 16th and then against two weeks later on the 30th.
  • Our dear friend Alexei Yashin comes back December 27th and March 15th.
  • The reigning Stanley Cup champs the Carolina Hurricanes visit Ottawa November 4th and February 28th. They travel to Raleigh on November 28th and February 27th.
  • The Sens play the Canadiens at home on January 13th as part of the Hockey Day In Canada deal.
  • The Sens' busiest months will be in November and March, when they play 15 games.
  • All weekday home games will start at 7:30 but weekend games 7. So basically, same as last year
UPDATE: Pre-season schedule, if you're curious:
September 19th - Ottawa vs Pittsburgh in Halifax
September 20th - Toronto @ Ottawa
September 22nd - Buffalo @ Ottawa at Scotiabank Place
September 23rd - Ottawa @ Philadelphia
September 24th - Toronto vs Ottawa in Halifax
September 27th - Ottawa @ Toronto
September 28th - Montreal @ Ottawa
September 30th - Ottawa @ Montreal

Nothing on any rookie camp info or dates, but when I get them I'll post the info. While, obviously, not on par with real NHL action, rookie camp games are always very entertaining. You have 20 kids battling for jobs and/or recognition, so rarely do you see anyone take a shift off, let alone a game. It's also where you discover the kids of the future. I remember last season being wowed by Alexander Steen and, on the Sens side, thinking this kid Andrej Meszaros had a lot of potential .

Last season the Leafs, Habs, Panthers, and 'Canes participated, and it was a worthwhile time. For $12 you got a tourney pass to see all games between any team involved. Some of the games took place in the daytime, which made it difficult to attend, but at that price, it was money incredibly well spent.

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